26 AMD socket AM4 motherboards review: the best boards for Ryzen

Which manufacturer offers the best base for your Ryzen build?


The socket AM4 platform

As we already wrote on the last page, socket AM4 is the platform for the upcoming years in regards to AMD processors. The socket features 1331 pins and it's a so-called PGA socket, which means that the pins are on the CPU instead of on the socket, which is the case for LGA.

Integrating more and more things into the processors has been an ongoing trend for years now. We already said goodbye to the northbridge, which used to feature the memory controller, years ago. AMD has gone even further beyond and has basically turned Ryzen into an SoC: the processors are responsible for the M.2/SATA ports and four USB connections, without any interference of the chipset. In theory it should be possible to produce a socket AM4 motherboard without a chipset, however in practice this isn't really possible due to various limitations.

The Ryzen CPUs (code-named Summit Ridge) each offer 24 PCI-Express 3.0 lanes. Sixteen thereof can be used for one or two (x8/x8) graphics cards, and four of them are used for an M.2 slot that is directly connected to the CPU. Manufacturers can choose whether they opt for an M.2 slot with only two lanes of bandwidth and to use the other two lanes for SATA ports, however the majority opts for an x4 slot. Lastly, in the background four PCIe 3.0 lanes are used for the connection with the chipset.

It's also good to know that the location of the screw holes used for mounting CPU coolers has been changed on socket AM4, compared to socket AM3(+). This means that coolers that require screws to be mounted will need a new mounting kit, however simple models that only use AMD's clipmounting should fit just fine. Check out this link for an overview of all socket AM4 CPU coolers.

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